Haywood Co. Commissioners vote against raising property taxes for now
BROWNSVILLE, Tenn.– Commissioners voted against a property tax increase for Haywood County residents, Monday night.
Hundreds of Haywood County residents packed a county commission meeting to standing room only to voice concerns against a proposed 30 cent property tax increase.
“Everything we hear is money, money, money. Well honey, the money is gone,” Tom Morgan Jr. said to the crowd and commissioners.
If county commissioners approved the proposed budget, the already $2.56 tax rate for property owners would have increased to $2.86.
“The present status of our cash flow is poor,” Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith explained about the possible increase.
More than a dozen residents spent the first hour of the meeting asking commissioners and Mayor Smith how they could expect the community to pay for the counties overspending.
One resident said, “4 people have to put this tax on the people of Haywood County. Think about that for one minute and see if you want those four people controlling your money that you don’t have.”
Danny Simpson said his concern was for those like him, living on a fixed income “any amount they add to it, it’s just going to cost me that much more and I’m retired,” he said.
“Social Security doesn’t go a long ways,” Simpson said.
In a 15-5 vote commissioners decide against raising the taxes and plan to reassess the budget starting Tuesday afternoon.
Had the budget passed, the tax increase would have lead the county into a financial surplus for the first time in two years.
Mayor Smith said he anticipates the four largest departments, including the jail and ambulance service could see significant cuts.
“It’s going to be hard to cut somebody that’s got a $100,000 budget so they can still operate, ” he said.
During the meeting Smith said he did not expect that version of the budget to pass.
It is unclear at this point, if county employees will see a pay cut, according to Smith. He said he does anticipate his $94,000 salary will see a decrease.
Smith told tax payers during the open hearing he previously offered to give up almost $10,000 and county commissioners rejected it.